Throwback Thursday:Belinda Carlisle's perfect quarantine style

Good morning, Thursday. I believe I've reached the angry part of my quarantine program. I am pissed off that we are still so deep in this pandemic, irritated that I feel trapped at home, yet still somehow grateful for all the things i do have to count as blessings.

So my nap dress post was popular. And nap dresses even had a moment in the New Yorker. But since athleisure and nap dresses have both gotten so much play, wtf else will we want to wear come Fall and by we I mean me?

Bet you didn't see this one coming. Because I want to be like Belinda. As in Carlisle.

The other night I watched a fab Showtime documentary on The Go Gos, the ultimate Calfornia girl band that sealed our lips and made us all want vacations. Turns out these girls were not quite the pure sunny ladies they appeared to me- a more typical rock star story was revealed-sex, drugs, you know the drill. These girls started out on the punk scene and then progressed to pop stars. And of course, at their helm with that perfect pop pitch was Belinda Carlisle. The girl of my fashion dreams.

In 1986, Carlisle went solo and made a video for a song called "Mad About You" that was hugely influential on my fashion choices in life. Though I could never be a button nosed, blond bobbed California girl, I could channel that effortless sex appeal in my own way, and as I rewatched the video this week, I realized this- Belinda's style in this video is the epitome of everything I want from my quarantine chic.

The video's premise is all about Belinda and her beautiful sunny sexiness, sashaying around Southern California being madly in love. Andy Taylor of Duran Duran even made an appearance. But other than the cameos and catchy lyrics, this video is so stylish and feels oh so very right now somehow.

See it for yourself here, and know why I am listing the following pieces as perfectly compliant for quarantine.  Here we go:

A black oversized turtleneck. In the video, Belinda's iconic dance around the beach is all about that outsized black mock turtleneck and the hoop earrings (more on that later). Was she wearing pants? Who knows and who cares. We don't need no damn pants in quarantine. To update the look, I love this version from Cuyana. Supa chic.

A bralette. Ok yea. I know. I'm 50 and maybe I'm not having a coquettish pillow moment wearing a bra top. But maybe I am. Who cares. Nobody can see me. In the video, Belinda rocks a bra top with a shrunken cardi and trousers, all black. I love this Norma Kamali bralette, and with indie brands like Negative, Pansy, and Cuup making bras you want to show off, there are no shortage of good bralettes on the scene. 

A shrunken cardi. A shrunken cardi appearing in a video in 1986 is pretty ahead of its time because for me, a shrunken sweater was very 90s, and believe me, I wore the hell out of them. Get something simple like this one from Saks or go more prim and preppy with this one from Kate Spade. 

A cashmere v neck boyfriend sweater. Just so ya know. Everything is black here. That's the brief. I love a good boyfriend sweater and this one from J.Crew is just right. Incidentally, an oversized black cashmere cardigan works too. Very very well. Here's one.

Black trousers. Yea yea ok. Pants are sometimes necessary. Belinda wore her bralette and cardi with some pleated, easy cropped pants. I love this look. And there are no better pants in my mind that from Noir Kei Ninomiya or Comme des Garcons. I splurge on a pair every year. They are perfection. The Japanese are the best when it comes to menswear inspired looks for ladies. I realize we're not going anywhere. But you may. And sometimes, you just want to wear the pants. So wear 'em. And if Japanese design is too high of mind (and pocketbook), how cool are these from COS?

An everyday LBD. You know what's great about most of the stuff I've listed in this post? You most likely have something like any of the above in your closet already. Basics are so on brief right now. And there's no way you don't have a little black dress in your closet. And maybe you'll go to a socially distanced something or other and will want something classic. So do like Belinda who ran through the streets of LA in a sleeveless and retro inspired LBD. That look is not super hot right now so a little hard to find something like it, but I know you have a sleeveless black dress in your closet. I have several. If you're feeling vintage, I love this one on Etsy. Very Audrey H. For a more modern take, how about going for something silky and lingerie like? This one from Modern Citizen is (racerback) bra friendly and would like just swell with the shrunken or oversized cardigan above. What a good look. I also like this one from Aritizia. Sexy.

A party dress. This is not a black dress. This is a festive dress because maybe you're gonna do date night at home and want to dress for it. I've heard crazier things in my life. I'd go with.a vintage wiggle dress like this one. Or this shape is so Belinda. Lovely. What's wrong with all dressed up and nowhere to go? Not a damn thing.

As far as accessories, big silver hoops create the look in the video. I love these from Jennifer Fisher or these from Blue Nile.

And of course, the Ray Ban Clubmaster is just everything. To update, I love the oversized version. So good with a bob and some lipstick.

Also- that makeup and hair- I'm mad about it. In the best of ways. How gorgeous and still so perfect right now? Stunning. Lately I've been doing makeup in the morning because somehow, it gives me hope. I know that's weird but that's my trip right now. I could only aspire to this vintage visage. Insanely beautiful and timeless.

So what have we learned? It's all black basics with a hint of party and classic cuts. So be like Belinda and go for effortless, easy pieces that are sexy, smart, and understated.  I may just say see ya to the nap dress and adios to athleisure. It's all about going back to basics for Fall. Way back to basics, that is. Cause that's what's up this mad about you kind of throwback Thursday in the 718.  Now go shop your closet and see how you can economize for Fall, or alternatively, invest in classic pieces that will last a lifetime. Yours, in go go going. XO

 



 

 



 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

The many moods of maven: The topsy turvy quarantini edition


Slight update to the below post: Wrote this last night to post today and somehow woke up feeling slightly less unhinged after a good yoga sesh. Exercise is the key to keeping me sane- two days without it and I fell apart...anyhoo- read on.

Good morning, Friday. TGIF. Looking forward to the weekend.

As an early adapter but also late bloomer, the sad and hopeless part of this rollercoaster ride called quarantine came for me this week. The early adapter in me had me loving working from home, working out once if not twice a day, indulging in self care, and taking care of business and myself. I really thought I had the shelter in place thing on lock, and I was feeling great.

Then I went on vacation for a week which was just glorious.

I swam, I sunned, I ate ice cream on a regular basis. We rented a lovely house at the shore and explored local towns while socially distancing. I continued my workouts and felt great, almost like normal life. But the second we got home, I felt different. Gutted. Anxious. Hopeless.

I know so many have been feeling that for months but this was the first time I was in a true hole. I worked from under the duvet most days this week, and my workouts were sucky and even skipped two days. I had a glimmer of joy Wednesday night when I had dinner with friends in a beautiful yard in Brooklyn, with way too much wine and loads of laughs and support for the city we love. i was happy. Way too drunk, but happy. It felt so good to be with friends and hang at  a perfect New York dinner party. And there were rocket pops. I love a rocket pop.

But the next day, hangover in tow, I felt crappy again. I'm having a hard time being productive or focusing or really doing anything at all. I'm craving eggplant parm. And ice cream. The news of an economic apocalypse is too much to take, and I found myself tearful watching Obama at the John Lewis funeral, because I miss having a president with class, dignity, grace, and intelligence. My only consolation this week was my refusal to post a black and white picture of myself, because I didn't feel that searching for a selfie that made me feel good about myself was  the best way to support other women. Turns out I was right. 

Lest you think I'm whining, I may be. And I know beyond know how fortunate I am to be healthy and working and generally keeping it together. Maybe this era of uncertainty is getting to this freshly minted 50 year old in a big way, and it's a tough time to be an optimist. The other night I went for a manicure in the evening and then picked up dinner on the way home and it made me feel normal for two seconds. I'm missing some version of that. I'm not missing the chaos of modern life, but right now I'd take that chaos over this version any day. I also feel that as a creative person living in a city as inspiring as New York, not being able to take part in culture as we knew it is lethal. I miss walking the streets and popping in shops and spontaneously visiting a museum or meeting a pal for dinner. It's not that you can't do that stuff, but it doesn't feel the same with a mask and a pocket full of hand sani. 

So does one eat the parm and allow some wallowing for a few days so one can just get back on the train? I don't know what the answer is but just wanted to share that Pollyana had a week. The question is- do I order fries with the eggplant parm? Inquiring minds.

Cause that's what's up this hoping for a better week next week kind of Friday in the heart of BK. Yours, in thrills, chills, ups, downs, and everything in between. Rest easy, friends. And eat the damn parm. XO



On manifesting

Good morning, Monday. Hot hot hot here in the city. Back at it.

So as you know I turned 50 a week or so ago, and finally, for the first time in my life, I have a real goal. Two, actually. Sure I've had goals before- lose weight, get published, make a real living as a writer- check, check, and check. But up next in this lifetime are two things I'm desperate to manifest. 

First- I want to make more stuff that has my stamp on it. A dress, a scent, more drawing, more writing- maybe even a book. I know my voice is loud and clear, and I am quite sure it's time for me to share that with as many people as I can. I need to start small but it's going to happen. For now it will most definitely be the side hustle of side hustles, but so be it.  From a very young age, I have felt a strong need to make my mark somehow, and on my own terms. Stay tuned for that.

Second- I need a place at the beach. A shack of sorts. After spending ten days there, I know that's where I belong. At least for part of the year. I must admit with this whole working from anywhere moment it's tempting to not renew our lease here and head for the beach for the year. I know people might roll their eyes because winter but I have always fantasized about quiet (albeit cold) winters where I can master something- French cooking, yoga, that whole doing my own thing thing. The hibernation period would be good for my creative soul. I just know it. It's worth exploring, and now instead of my often over the top shopping habits, I now have a reason to more mindfully spend money, and hope to save for a home by the sea. I have always wondered where I would eventually buy something, and the beach is one hundred percent right. Though I love it upstate, bugs. I hate too many bugs. And bears. Not a huge fan of those either. I am at my best at the beach and that's the truth. I know it's true for many, but spiritually, there is no better place for me than the ocean.

So as we all continue to mostly shelter in place, I'm choosing to be in manifesting mode. One of the first steps in manifesting, for me, is sharing my goals, and putting them out there, so all of you gorgeous people can hold me accountable. I've never been one for big life goals, but after all these turns around the sun, perhaps I've figured out what I really want, and if I think hard about it, I've always wanted both of the above. That's pretty miraculous. Large caveat- I'm worried beyond worried about how COVID is going to kill all of our dreams. We just have to get this under control right now.

Hope you are all in manifest mode too. Been listening to tons of guided meditations on the subject and hoping to lock and load my conscious and subconscious minds together. Let's do this, people. Oh and while we're in manifest mode, it's 98 days to the election. We gotta do it. No time like the present.

Cause that's what's up this making it happen kind of Monday back in BK. Yours in sun, sea, and self fulfillment. XO

Short and sweet shameless plug...

Good afternoon, Friday. I've had the best first week of 50, spending it here at my favorite place, the beach. I can't underestimate how much happiness the beach brings me. I just live for it.

So a few days ago some of you may have seen my thoughts on turning 50 during a pandemic in the Ageist. Love contributing to their awesomeness and very happy with the piece. Have a look if you haven't had the chance and share it with all your pals. Link here. Sorry for the delay in sharing, I'm very much on vacation time.  PS that's Phoebe Waller Bridge, who is not 50, but is very fabulous. She is however, wearing a Bella Freud jumper from the year I was born so there you have it.

Though it does feel a wee bit like end of the days, I'm still somehow on top of the world, at least for now. Cause that's what's up this sandy, surfy Friday from the Jersey shore. Yours, in getting published while sand is between one's toes. XO

Maven goes to the beach: My favorite things to wear this Summer

Good morning, Tuesday. Fifth day as a 50-year-old and so far so good.  I'm at my happiest of places, the beach. Even though this is one crazy summer, I feel so happy to be spending my birthday week where I feel the most peaceful and joyous. In my opinion, there is nothing in life better than an ocean breeze and view, and although it looks a little different this year, I can still socially distance by the seaside which is just fine by me.

And no week at the beach is complete without some cute looks. Just look at my fellow Philly girl Grace Kelly. 

My sister and I chatted before I packed (way too much as usual) and asked why I was bringing anything more than bathing suits, tee shirt and shorts. I love that idea but I'm not really a tee shirt and shorts kind of girl. It may be true I haven't put on a stitch of makeup since I've been here, but I have enjoyed switching up my cover ups and putting on a little dress to go get some ice cream in the evenings. Pandemics aside, there are some very cute pieces to be had this Summer, and thought I'd share some of my favorites. Let's take it from the  top.

A good hat is an absolute must to keep away from harmful rays. Since my bathing suits tend to be neutral and black, I love this bucket hat from Loeffler Randall, for a pop of animal print. 

For sunglasses, nothing beats a classic aviator at the beach. I adore these outsized all black sunnies from YSL, and this more affordable version here .

I love beachy dresses of all sorts, but admired  these leggy numbers from UK based Juliet Dunn and I'm in love. Animal print yet again and tie dye on this one  but suits my mood. Also love this pretty pink number which goes great with tan legs.

In terms of bathing suits, I can't believe I'm saying this but I'm wearing a bikini this summer. This one from Lively comes in smaller busted and larger busted versions, and is supportive and beyond comfortable (not to mention affordable) all at once. Simple and chic. I"m not one for loud prints on suits and always keep it minimal. 

I spotted this pair of perfect beach shorts at Givens, a store I found in Cape May last Summer and checked out yesterday and still love. These are from Jungmaven and come in three stellar, surf inspired colors, though I like the classic black and white. So cute over a bathing suit or with a tee shirt. These shorts I absolutely could do. Plus Jungmaven hemp tees and tanks are an absolute, responsibly chic dream.

It's not Summer without a caftan, and Michael Stars is going far beyond his yummy tee shirts this Summer to bring us some super, gauzy caftan realness. So soft and comfy. Great after the beach when back (working from) home in Brooklyn too. And this caftan from new fav brand is just so chic and elegant, but a bit of an investment.

Have you all discovered Freedom Moses? I feel like every NYC fashion girl is rocking these this Summer and I just love them. A great take on the Birkenstock, totally recyclable,  and so many fun prints. I am partial to this Memphis one.

For my dream beach bag (I tend to use the same oversized LL Bean tote I've had forever), this one from Loewe is the bag of the season, even if none of us are really going anywhere. So classic and chic and timeless. And in that bag would go this book. Jennifer Weiner, a fellow Jewish gal from Philly, makes for perfect reading at the Jersey shore, which incidentally, is full of Philly Jewish people. 

In terms of sun protection, I went all in this year and invested in Supergoop and I'm so not sorry. Loving their glow oil and their body mist so much. For my face, I'm all about StriVectin (the brand I write for). Their illuminating finish sunscreen is quickly absorbed into skin and gives you a lovely glow without clogging pores or causing breakouts.  I love it and even put it on indoors to protect against blue light.

 In terms of fragrance, I'm still the biggest fan of Nuxe's classic beautiful rose, gardenia, and magnolia summer scent, which I mix with a bit of Heretic's  sold out vanilla infused Amber rose, which smells fabulous on warm, tanned skin. That Nuxe scent is one of my favorite Summer must haves.

I highly recommend at least a day trip or ten to the beach this Summer if you can. It feels great to breathe some salty air and stare into the sea, hoping for happier, healthier times. Cause that's what's up this seashell of a Tuesday at the Jersey shore. Yours, in happy places and beachy keen styles. XO









Sally O'Malley

Good morning, Friday. I almost said Monday. Oy. 

Well, here we are. And here I am. Today I turn 50 and have been thinking of this moment for about a year now. If I'm being honest, I'm feeling a little fucked off about it. Like, how the hell am I 50?  But I know this feeling shall pass. Because although it's a big birthday, I've never felt stronger, smarter, or better in my entire life.

As someone that's born in a new decade/year (1970), marking these milestones has a lot of significance. So I tend to remember those birthdays the most. Don't ask me about 20. I have no idea. Probably drunk somewhere, making out with someone.

I very clearly remember turning 30, almost more than any other birthday in my life.

When I turned 30 I was in San Francisco on a hellish project, and feeling all the feels. Every single one. I got in a big fight with my boss and retreated to my friend's Victorian in the Haight. There I listened to "Blood on the Tracks" on repeat, and cried. The tears were not tears of sadness. They were tears of relief. I was so happy to be out of my manic panic 20s era. l knew at 30, life would be different. And it was. I met my husband two weeks later and the rest is history. 30 was probably my most important birthday of my life. Until now I suppose.

I turned 40 in Miami and threw myself a party with Jamaican patties, and David had a cake made with my picture on it. I had lots of friends over, my aunt flew down which was awesome, though I'd be lying if I said I was thrilled to fete myself in such a way. I'm not super comfortable with people celebrating me. Not that I'm not worthy. I'm just kind of shy about that stuff. Anyway, 40 was nice, and we all got boozy, but it wasn't really me to have a big bday party, and it still isn't. Thanks, quarantine.

Cut to 50. I'm working my butt off, I'm exercising my butt off, and I'm feeling powerful. I recently got a tarot reading (sorry non-believers) and the first three cards I pulled were the sun, moon, and stars. Can't beat that, really. I thought about renaming this blog "MIdlife Maven". But I'm still me. I don't need a label. I'm going to keep on just as I was because I'm not down with that title.

I feel that great things are in store, but this day threw me for a loop. I don't feel old at all, so I'm wondering how on Earth I'm 50. I had a hard time sleeping last night just thinking about it, but as the day got underway, I started to feel better. The anticipation was killing me. As in somehow I'd wake up with a chinful of hair and a.bucket full of hot flashes. Neither happened. 

Look for a piece from me next week about turning 50 in captivity/quarantine. I'm writing this piece here in the car on the way to the beach, my happy place. Thanks to all my friends and family for wishing me well. I'm a bit thrown off by 50, but so grateful I can find my groove in lockdown, where I can quietly welcome this birthday just as I wish, with a slow bandaid rip. To be honest, I have very little patience, so the slow rip is something I have to deal with. Patience has never been my strong suit, and it sure isn't at this moment.

Cause that's what's up this 5-0 kind of Friday from the highway. Yours, from Sally O'Malley (see above GIF).  XO

Nap dresses are the new athleisure

Good morning, Thursday. Back in the BK and it's hot in the city. Trying to call myself with some cold brew from my local spot and settle in to city life yet again. 

So check it. Recently it has come to my attention that athleisure sales have been skyrocketing. It's interesting to see the types of businesses benefiting from the pandemic- you go try and find a Clorox wipe anywhere, for instance. Not to mention paper towels and baking supplies. And when it comes to what we are wearing during the quarantine, many are sticking to elastic waists and gym clothes because they are comfortable, easygoing, and cozy. I for one am never without a fresh supply of my beloved Splendid black leggings. They are in my wardrobe forever and I absolutely adore them- they're on the thin side which I like and are simply the softest, most comfy leggings around. Highly recommend.

But as someone who also works out at home now, I'm not much for staying in my workout clothes all day, though sometimes I do. For me, being home is all about being comfortable, but I prefer to have a bit more fun with it. Because, well, you know. That's the maven way.

Which is why something called a "nap dress" recently caught my eye.

It came across my Instagram and I clicked on it and it was love at first sight. It's from a brand called Hill House, and it comes in a short length and a more midi version and I just love the idea of a simple dress to wear all day. And if a nap happens in between zoom calls, so be it. Don't even pretend you don't shut your eyes for 10-20 minutes when the going gets rough. Why not do so in style? Admittedly the name is kind of eye roll-worthy but who cares? It's cuter than sweatpants, this much I know, and I can throw on my Vans slides and take Khan for a walk, too. And since my current binge watch obsession is "The Great", my fantasy has me lolling around my castle/apartment, effortlessly lounging in a nap dress. I just find it lovely, zoom call worthy, and adorably sexy all at once. I am a longstanding fan of nightgowns as clothing- thinking back to the 90s in New York City where you would find me in a slip more often than not. I was so that chick. 

Cut to now- where most days I admittedly work from bed, often under the duvet. It's my happy place. I'm not one for a desk. So for me, WFH is very much WFB. 

Besides the above nap dress,  a bevy of cotton poplin dresses popping up everywhere are on my radar. From Zara to my new fav A Bronze Age, a puffy sleeved poplin frock feels just right- particularly in lemon yellow or lilac. Loose, easy, and crisp.  Sleeper is a spendy brand with the most gorgeous sleepy chic dresses ever, oh and I see you- party pjs. I see you and feel you and love to love you but this post is about dresses so sit this one out.  

Not to mention my current obsession with Eileen West white nightgowns, or this long sleeved one from Lacera, which I spotted in the Rhinebeck Department Store and wanted on sight. Prim at first sight, but taken up a notch with a black bra underneath and a coin necklace and it becomes unmumsy. A bit of cottagecore perhaps. But doesn't have to be matronly. Unless of course you want it to be. Do you though?

And if you're not into wearing white, a cotton black dress is every bit as cool. I love this one from Modern Citizen that came across my inbox last night. And the back is lovely too.  

So as we continue to keep it all on lock (I am anyway), consider a nap dress. Or don't. Whether you are team athleisure or team nap dress, move forward in good health, peace, and for goodness sake, a bit of style. Cause that's what's up this don't snooze on style of a Thursday in the 718. Yours, in cold brew, nap dresses, and sweet, stylish dreams in quarantine. XO

On cool cats and staying put

Good morning, Friday and TGIFFFFFF. Yes, friends. Yes. I'm headed upstate on Sunday for a week \to wftc (work from the country) and get a little change of scene. After the past few weeks, I need a small respite from my beloved Brooklyn. And as the city comes back to life, a bit of a cautionary tale.

What's fantastic about this city, this heartland of mine is the people's resilience here. In the past few days, I've seen my Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens transform into a small European village, with outdoor seating and a bit of a return to something that did not feel normal, but lively. Traffic is back in the city in a big way, and there's more hustle and bustle than we've seen in a while. I feel like screaming "TOO BLOODY SOON," but I know that businesses are hurting, and we have to support them. As a relatively neurotic bunch, I'm wondering how comfortable we'll be trying on clothes in stores and getting our hair done and everything else. That's all very much TBD, and I'm admittedly in the minority of people yearning for the early days of quarantine- not the people dying and the fear but the strange sense of calm that came over this entire town. It was like "Vanilla Sky" when you drove through Manhattan- an empty canyon that had a sense of peace and beauty to it I've never experienced in my whole life here.

But cut to now.

I have friends hitting the road for good. Some have decamped to Connecticut for a year or so to see what happens back here. Others stay in their Catskills homes for good right now and let go of their leases in Manhattan. I don't blame them at all. I'm not one of them, and I'm not super interested in leaving right now. I am one of those romantic fucks that still loves this city. Unconditionally and at all costs. Talk to me in a few months, but I still want to hang. If anything, I'd choose to leave the damn country if I could. But that's a whole other thing.

Which brings me to the cat pictured at the top of this post. 

As I walked to a stoop glass (or three) of Sauvignon Blanc with an old colleague who lives in the neighborhood, I walked by this guy. There he was, just sitting on his stoop. Not a care in the whole world. Grizzled but handsome in a rugged, edgy kind of way. I am not one for cats, but I do admire their gravitas and general FU gestalt. Plus, they have character. And I like that.

So as I walked by, his owner unloaded her car and casually looked at me and said in her best Brooklyn deadpan, "That's Steve McQueen." 

I asked if I could take his picture, to which he remained aloof, but I like this shot, which says admire me but don't fucking look at me. I can relate. Very much.

To me, this cat epitomizes what I love about New York and always will. Somewhat disheveled at present, but way cooler than you could ever hope to be. A majestic figure, highly intelligent, and a bonafide badass, living right on my block. 

I realized as I walked by him, I was not yet ready to leave this cuckoo town. Because I still get such a kick out of it all. Of the old Italians that now drink their coffee alfresco and watch what's happening on the street. Of the beautiful, leafy streets of my beloved Brooklyn in the summertime. Of stoop hangs with old colleagues and chilled wine. Or the dad next door who spent hours inflating a lovely pool for his two boys complete with doughnut inner tubes, to the delight of the little girls that live next to them who peer over their fence in wonder at this summer standout. And of course, animals with names that make your whole day. You may find a cat named after a cooler than cool movie star in Connecticut, and you very well may not. And that matters to me. I've explained it as well as I could, but many of you know exactly what I mean. Particularly this funny feline named Steve McQueen. He gets it.

I'll stay in this city until it no longer serves me. But right now, I still need it, and it needs me. PS I'm not a martyr and I don't want a medal. I'm just sharing what's up in my little neck of the woods.  I wish everyone safety and health, continue to fight for what matters to you, and what matters to help us all keep going. Yours, in cool cats and sheltering in my place. XO

Thoughts from a city on edge


Good morning, Monday. I haven't written in a long time, and the world looked a lot different than it does now or the way it looks from my last part.  Today, New York enters Phase Two of la grande rentrée and stores, outdoor dining, and hair salons can open up again. Lord help us all.

For me, many voices needed to be heard, and I was quiet so I could process it all. There was a ton of posts, updates, and otherwise all over social media to support the protestors, and to commemorate the senseless death of George Floyd and countless others. Once upon a time in America...I hope one day we can talk about this time as a reckoning- when we confronted the virus of COVID-19 and the enduring virus of racism. At some point, I hope we can all heal together. Together being the operative word.

So I've been struggling to write about all the things I typically write about because it was not the time for my voice. I wanted to make room for others to talk, and I wanted to make room in my mind to process what was happening. And then came the fireworks.

True story and I think I've told you this before- I don't like fireworks. At all.

As a child, I had a raging phobia of loud noises, particularly fireworks and anything loud and boom-like. In case you don't live in a big city, maybe you're not experiencing the nightly sonic booms that we are having in places like Philly and New York. In my neighborhood, summer fireworks are a bit of a thing, but not on this scale. It's not going off like crazy in my nabe, but the surrounding areas are suffering anxiety with four straight weeks of BOOM after BOOM from about 10-2 am each evening. Dogs are freaking. Children are crying. People set off professional-grade fireworks every night for hours on end, and it's jarring, scary, and very unsettling, particularly because the city is already on edge. (Not to mention doing this is such close proximity to buildings, cars, and people is beyond dangerous).

Many people are complaining, and the fabulous fireworks debacle of 2020 is making the rounds of newspapers like the New York Times, blogs, and nightly news shows. The police are totally MIA when it comes to this illegal activity, and many are accusing them of planting these fireworks in neighborhoods themselves. It seems that besides the police, the only person not seeming to give a crap about it all is our mayor, but that's another story.

Anyway, I'm on Nextdoor (a local app for community postings) in my neighborhood and posted about fireworks about a week ago, and people came for me.

First, I was a "gentrifier," and how long have I lived in Brooklyn during the summer?

Second, I was showing my white privilege by complaining about this. And how lucky I was to have this as my only complaint as people were fighting for their lives every day.

Third, as previously mentioned, maybe it was the cops themselves setting them off to cause chaos and confusion.

Hmm. 

I, in no way, implied that my annoyance at fireworks is comparable to concerns for human life and police brutality. I just said they are very jarring and scary and add to the air's sense of tension. And as more and more people came to my defense (thank you, people of Brooklyn), I realized that the nightly explosives were part of this whole reckoning. That we all have to face our fears and the things that make us uncomfortable. Maybe it's all about staying awake. Because nobody can sleep with these explosions all night. Or perhaps it's just that people need to calm the heck down and understand that to judge someone you have never met is pretty horrible and counter-productive. On the subject of conspiracy theories, no comment. 

And as the other crisis of Corona continues to taunt us, I heard a story on the radio that gave me pause. An epidemiologist was talking about the decrease in cases in countries like Italy and France because countries like those in Europe are socially minded (and no, not just socialist). They are societies that believe in the public good. And then, there's us. 

We believe in individualism. At every cost. Because protecting our freedom is the number one thing we all are supposed to believe in the most in this country, right? But what if your individualism was making everybody sick? What if your endless sonic booms are making others uncomfortable, and not in the right way? 

I would love to see this country move towards something else. Because we can't go back to normal, and we shouldn't. I would argue that everything before COVID-19 was anything but ordinary. We were spinning out of control. Imagine a country where you can celebrate your individuality while being mindful and compassionate when it comes to the health and well being of others? Call it being civically minded, socially-minded, or just being a good neighbor and citizen of Earth. We have got to start caring about other people. And wear your damn mask, for goodness sake. 

Don't be an asshole. Plain and simple. Be considerate of your neighbors and communities and understand that amidst so much hurting and anger, we need some good healing energy too. Now is the time to fight, but it's also a time to acknowledge how deeply wounded we are as a country. This weekend was Father's Day, and I couldn't help but think of my next-door neighbors, who finally took down their Easter decorations yesterday and spent their first Father's Day without their 32-year-old daughter, who lost her life to COVID-19.
You have no idea what people are experiencing- practice compassion, keep fighting for what's right, and work for healing and coming out of this dark period better allies, better friends, and better Americans. Be a fighter AND a lover.

Cause that's what's up this loving Monday in the 718. Yours, in newfound American optimism, and keeping it real. XO

Styled in Place: A stylish muse in animal print

Good morning, Tuesday. Hope you had a lovely long weekend. We spent it installing new air conditioners and taking care of business at home. We also found time to have a socially distant ice cream date, and strolled through Washington Square Park- the weather was just glorious. I also stored all of winter clothes and news flash- kept my summer clothes in storage too. I have less in my closet right now and have never felt happier in terms of feeling organized and a bit more minimal. More on that soon. Ooh and reading Andre Leon Talley's new autobiography which is more delicious than even expected. Fashion nerds this is a must read. I so appreciate his passion for dress as well as his take as the first African American man to have such an impact on editorial fashion pursuits. He shook the ground and broke through the ceiling.

But without further adieu, here is my second installment of Styled in Place for you. Hope you enjoy it- this look is a personal favorite of mine, ps. So good.

Bronwyn Berry: Producer and comfortably cool chick

We met Bronwyn on a crisp Spring afternoon earlier in the quarantine and photographed and chatted on her rooftop on Henry Street. Bronwyn’s one of those cool New York women that make you think about how cool New York women are. Originally from South Africa, Bronwyn is a film and television producer and epitomized feel good fashion with her look.

I was smitten by her poppy lipstick and of course, her amazing approach to sartorial, shelter-in-place style. Her outfit screamed “must have”, and after a frantic Google search, I found it was no longer to be had. Her cool timeless cred, passion for her career, and comfortable in her own skin vibe had me at hello. And her effortless chic which felt so appropriate for our urban jungle is what I love most about my little Brooklyn neighborhood. The women here are super stylish but super casual and never fussy. Here’s what she told us.

Okay, so tell me your name, where you live and what you do for work.

My name is Bronwyn Berry and I live on Henry Street in Cobble Hill, and I am a film and TV producer.

 What kind of things do you produce?

So, at the moment, I'm working on a documentary about doo wop so I'm learning all about music of the 50s and 60s, which I didn't really know about, because it's all like American music before my time. Today we are finishing cutting the trailer, the editors are in Brooklyn, the musicians that are working with us are in Florida and the executive producers are in Florida as well.

Well, I have to ask you, first and foremost about this fabulous outfit. Tell the story about it, if you don't mind.

 I went to Johannesburg where I'm originally from to see my mom, it was her 80th birthday in early March, and the flight is 16 hours. And I kind of got really tired of wearing leggings and T-shirts on the plane and feeling so incredibly unglamorous so I decided I wanted an international traveler look. So, I went to a store called the SPACE which sells like clothes by local designer and I found this one. And I was with my friend, who used to live in Johannesburg, but now she's moved to Barcelona. And she bought the summer version of this which was a kind of silky pale animal print. And I bought this one and we both actually caught the plane that night in our outfits.

 How is this look perfect for quarantine?

 So, my mother laughed at me when I got it, but I thought even if I wear it once on the plane and you know that's it, I was fine with that. But I got home, and it was a lockdown and I was just like, this is the perfect outfit. It just is. It's so comfortable. I don't have to try too hard. I've got a really nice kind of little velvet t-shirt that goes really well with it. It's like a burgundy color. And I've been wearing those like, yeah, for this entire time, which is kind of I don't even know how long it is. 

And do you always wear earrings and jewelry too while you are at home?

 I usually wear jewelry. Yeah, I wear jewelry and I wear makeup.

So how do you describe your sort of style during non COVID times?

 Um, I always like to look professional but because of my work, I don't kind of need to look like formal or anything like that. I like to kind of be put together when I choose pieces that kind of stand out, like, you know, like, like jewelry or kind of bold colors or something like that. I wear a lot of like, you know, jeans and tees, but then I always have an interesting jacket or a big piece of jewelry. You know, something like that. I mean, my, my style has changed quite a lot since I moved here. I've been here for six years now. And I was very bright in South Africa. Very bright, very cold, very grounded, like all of that. And I somehow have got quite muted since I've been here.  It’s kind of like a kind of don't want to stand off so much anymore, so I'm going towards more neutrals, but I always like, you know, to have a pop of color or something that's kind of unique or interesting.

Why is it important for you to feel put together right now? Like, what is it about this?

It's really important for me to feel put together now. I mean, I wake up in the morning, and I walk to my desk and I spend most of the day at my desk and I just somehow if I, if I don't kind of, you know, take a shower and get dressed and all of that, I honestly feel I feel I don't feel in working mode. So, it actually motivates me to work and to feel like in a way I make a transition from the bedroom and the relaxed to, you know, to the working mode, even though it's just like a couple of steps.

What kind of self-care things are you doing during quarantine when you're feeling stressed or anxious or any of that?

 I'm doing like a stretching class in the morning, which is like 30 minutes and it's just really slow stretching. And that's just to, you know, to kind of wake me up. Because usually I would wake up on my way to work, you have that walk or that somewhere, Yeah. And then I've discovered  something called The Class.

Oh, Taryn Toomey. I do it too.

 I'm obsessed with it. I feel it. It absolutely a energizes me.

Have you cried yet during the class? 

Oh, yeah. The class is like that. it's very emotional. It's a real release more than any. I kind of hate it when I first did it. I was like, this is I don't know what to make of this. And then I was on board, right? 

I'm building these muscles which I don't usually you know, work that much. Yeah, so, for me, that's self care.

Excellent. Is it just you and your husband here at home?

 Yes, and a cat.

 So how are you finding quarantine as a couple?

 Well, my husband is a writer. So, he always works from home and he's a real introvert. And I’m an extrovert who likes to leave home in the morning, I had the most adjustment. But I think we've got we've got very strict boundaries, he stays in his office, and I stay in my kind of office, which is the dining room table. And we actually don't, we don't unless you want to ask each other. Please help me write this or whatever. So, I must say that I'm lucky. I'm so grateful for him because I actually can't think of anyone else that I could have locked down with other than him because we have a lot of fun. It was my birthday last Friday.

Happy birthday. How did you celebrate?

I spent the day on the phone to all my friends all over the world they were waking or waking up and going to sleep at different times Australia and Barcelona and South Africa and LA and ended the day with zoom cocktails with like 10 people.  And my husband managed to get Wanderlustre, a great shop in our neighborhood, to open for him and he went in and got me some gifts and some flowers.

 I love her store as well. She is great. What are you most looking forward to when we come out of this situation?

 I am so looking forward to sitting across from my friend and having a glass of wine and talking to them. I mean, I really miss that kind of connection. I also really miss my three nephews in North Carolina. And I'm looking forward to seeing them. I mean, I would have to go into 14-day quarantine. So yeah, kind of in the future. It's not gonna happen straightaway.

Ok, so what are you taking away from quarantine? What are the life lessons?

 I think I developed a serious case of FOMO living in New York where I had to go out all the time, and I never stopped, and I could never be still. And I’ve really learned to be still and to take great enjoyment in the moment, and not have to rush everywhere all the time. You know, I think the quality of my life has actually improved, because, although I am not seeing my friends, and I am not doing all the things I want to do, I am actually really enjoying just living my life with a different sense of peace. So, I hope to take that for good.

 Cause that's what's up this animal printed, stylishly short start of the work week in the 718. Yours, in Brooklyn style. XO